Thursday, June 10, 2010

Back from the dead: vinyl makes a comeback

Written by Tampa Rock Music Examiner Heather Clark
It has been said by many that trends come as quickly as they go. That what was once considered a popular gotta have it item eventually becomes labeled as "uncool" and goes out of style never to be seen again. Or so we thought. Because all it takes is for a few decades or so to pass and then this trend that had supposedly gone out of style ages ago suddenly re-emerges again. Just as popular if not more popular than ever before. This couldn't be more true when it comes to vinyl records.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, vinyl began making a national comeback in 2007 when the American music industry saw a 46.2 percent revenue increase for vinyl sales. During this same period CD sales dropped by 20.5 percent. Though vinyl sales account for less than 1 percent of total album sales, reports that the numbers of records sold in 2008 jumped to 1.88 million from 988,000 in 2007.

So why now after once being considered as dead as the eight-track tape are vinyls making such a startling comeback? Collectors say it's because vinyl records put the experience back into music. It makes an industry that has almost been completely drained of its artists with originality and passion for their music seem genuine once more.

One of the most recognized difference between CD's and vinyl records is the quality of sound. CD's are thinner and flatter, it is simply a compressed format that spins quickly while a laser reads it. But with a vinyl it is larger, spins slower, and there is an actual needle playing over the groove. Enthusiasts argue that listening to a record is hearing the music the way it is supposed to sound.

It also seems that record stores are becoming more prominent once again and easier to find in almost any city. Right here in our own backyard lies Bananas Record Warehouse, the worlds largest record store that has been open since 1977. Collectively Bananas has over 14,000 sq. feet of space shared between two warehouses that are across the street from one another. Their two story warehouse is where nearly three million vinyl LP's are stored and sold to the public. Across the street in their smaller single story warehouse they cell CD's, movies, vinyl singles, and hundreds of vinyl LP's for as little as $1 a piece.

So how is it that in our present day and modern age something as simple as a vinyl record, not so long ago considered an extinct medium of commercial music, could become so popular once more? Maybe it's because although music has gone digital all we really want deep down is something that feels tangible, human. Or maybe this whole vinyl thing is just a trend that will have its day and then once again be gone "forever". Or maybe, just maybe, it's because in these pressing societal times people are nostalgic for the good ole' days and are once again using the music on the vinyls as an escape. If only for a little while. I personally hope the later of these maybes is true.

A special thanks to Heather Clark at for the exclusive rights to reprint this story.

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